I was trying to watch yesterday’s Meet the Press when I kept feeling woozy each and every time David Gregory either aided in promoting a baseless claim or failed to ask the obvious question, perpetuating the farce that has become our political dialogue.
This week it was about Judge Sotomayor and whether, according to a bunch of unelected white guys, she is racist. Gregory allowed Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to talk about the nation and its Supreme Court’s long heritage of blind justice in contrast to Sotomayor’s alleged judicial philosophy without bringing up the obvious: in its entire history, the Supreme Court has only had two female justices and two African American ones. Not until the second half of the 20th Century did our beloved legal heritage, embodied in an activitist Court, rule that separate was not equal. And in the entire history of the United States of America, Alabama has one of the worst records on civil rights. Why is a white southerner from a state with a well documented history of lynchings and injustice be permitted to make such a claim completely unchallenged? Furthermore, why are all these white guys so upset?
To be quite frank, Sotomayor’s remarks about the wise and experienced Latina woman are very aligned with our long cultural heritage of romanticizing the underdog and believing that the underdog is somehow more virtuous. Heck, I would surely hope that someone who comes from poverty and a tough neighborhood plus several years of stellar legal experience would have greater insights than someone who has lived in total comfort. What’s so controversial about that? Notice that when the white guy, Alito, says the same thing it’s alright, but when the Hispanic woman does it is reverse racism.
Now I’d love to love Mr. Gregory; we went to college together. But he is so brain dead (or cynical) that in a later segment he discusses corporate discrimination against women with Xerox’s Anne Mulcahy. Of course, it wouldn’t have occurred to him to bring up discrimination on the bench a few minutes earlier when he was discussing how having two women and seven men on the Supreme Court would prejudice men.
I really don’t want to be Sotomayor’s unequivocal defender. I continue to harbor some questions and reservations about how good of a choice Sotomayor is. But none of those questions are being asked — at least not yet. Instead, the discourse is, as usual, filled with totally fact-free and inflammatory claims which, if we had a minimally functioning media, would have been exposed as the obvious falsehoods they are from the start.
The silliest part of it, though, is that the Republicans probably won’t have another chance at such a moderate Obama nominee. Regardless of how we classify races and ethnic groups in America, Hispanic or Latino is not so easily definable. For example, Mexico and Puerto Rico share a language and religion but little more. They don’t live in the same parts of the country and they don’t necessary have the same political interests. So thinking that all Hispanics are going to be liberal on all issues at all times is naive.
Finally, I’d love to find a single one of these journalists who can actually explain and then cite examples of judicial activism as opposed to strict constructionism. If Supreme Court Justices simply interpreted the law in a vacuum, you could use computers to do their job. That’s not how American jurisprudence works. How stupid can a debate get? Please!